On the UN Human Rights Council’s Embrace of Authoritarian Regimes

In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council due to its well-established pattern of anti-Israel bias and membership rules that allow the election of the world’s worst human rights abusers to seats on the Council.  Prior to making this decision, and after our exit, the United States has urged UN member states to take immediate action to reform the Council before it became irreparable.  Unfortunately, those calls went unheeded, and today the UN General Assembly once again elected countries with abhorrent human rights records, including China, Russia, and Cuba. Venezuela was elected in 2019.

These elections only further validate the U.S. decision to withdraw and use other venues and opportunities to protect and promote universal human rights.  For example, in September of this year the United States hosted a landmark side event during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week centered on the continuing significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Last year, President Trump hosted a landmark event on religious freedom.

The United States’ commitment to human rights consists of far more than just words. Through the State Department’s action, we have punished human rights abusers in Xinjiang, Myanmar, Iran, and elsewhere. Our commitments are spelled out clearly in the UN’s Declaration, and in our record of action.  The United States is a force for good in the world, and always will be.